O’Leary locked up till 2015 by Justin Mangan

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O’Leary locked up till 2015 

By Justin Mangan 

  

It was said George O’Leary was the right man for the job in December 2003 when he first signed as head football coach of the University of Central Florida. And on Thursday, a move was made that will ensure that O’Leary would end his coaching career with UCF. Here he signed a 10-year contract extension that will take him through the 2015-college football season. With only two years into the program, the 59-year has been rewarded for turning around a perishing football program. 

  

Keith Tribble, Director of Athletics put it best saying, “There’s no question that Coach O’Leary is one of the top coaches in the country. I look forward to working with him as we build a championship program that one day will be in a BCS bowl game and maybe in the Orange Bowl where I just left. It’s a very exciting day for UCF.” 

  

The deal includes a base salary of $1 million in the first year along with incentive that could increase to $1.5 million. By placing a buyout at $5 million it is clear that UCF has faith in the coach and wants him for the long stay. 

  

In his first year with the UCF program the team went a measly 0-11 during the 2004 season. By loosing the first 2 games last season their loosing streak extended to 17 games. O’Leary then started to turn the program around. By rebounding to win eight of their last nine games the Golden Knights reached the Hawaii Bowl to face off against Nevada. Even though they lost to Nevada, signs of success were there. Especially since they were just the sixth team in NCAA history to go to a bowl game only a year after going winless. 

  

Dating back to O’Leary stint with the Notre Dame football program, the coach has come a along way after the problems he experienced with his claims against his academic and athletic background. O’Leary, who regretted not telling Notre Dame officials about the inaccuracies before he was hired, doesn’t seem to be looking in the past at all. 

  

“When I came here I said I thought UCF was a sleeping giant,” said O’Leary…. “I think everything is in place here. Is it where it needs to be right now? No, but I think were on our way to doing the right things that we need to do to be an outstanding football team.” 

  

The new contract couldn’t come at a better time for the football program. More over, the university has just begun construction on its new on campus football stadium. They have also scheduled and announced a three game football series with the University of Teas, whom were the 2005 National Champions. UCF will open the 2006 season on September 2nd against Villanova. And with George O’Leary calling the shots for the next 10 years to come there is no telling that the UCF program will continue to grow both on and off the field.